The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]
Department Of Labour
Department Of Labour.
This department is a development, of recent times and was created in the belief that it would, to a great extent, dispose of the unemployed difficulty, and be the means of bringing together the capitalist and labouring classes. It cannot be said to have proved a pronounced success, and although it is the means of distributing a considerable amount of information regarding the current rate of wages page 145 and such matters, the difficulty of either keeping up wages to a fixed standard, or of finding work for the workless is proved to be out of the power of a department or a Government. The central office of this department is the Bureau of Industries, in the Government Buildings, Wellington; and there is also a bureau in each of the other three chief cities, under the charge of Inspectors of Factories. In the country districts the police act as agents, and furnish reports to head-quarters. Under its guidance are the State Farms of the colony, which are hoped to become self-supporting in time. The staff consists of a Chief Inspector, seven Inspectors (of whom two are females), and three other officers. Their duties include the inspection of all places which come under the definition of factories; and the administration of the Labour Laws is in their hands. It is to be regretted that considerable friction has resulted from the well-meant attempts of these laws to lighten the lot of the workers; and it is open to question whether the benefit conferred has compensated for all the trouble and expense. The cost to the colony of the department is £6260 per annum.
Mr. James Mackay, Chief Clerk of the Labour Department, has had a large and varied experience of colonial life. Born in 1857 at Dunse, Berwick, Scotland, he received his education in the ancient and beautiful city at Edinburgh. As a lad Mr. Mackay went to sea, and made several voyages between the “Old Land” and New Zealand, serving part of his apprenticeship in P. Henderson and Co.'s Albion line of sailing ships. In 1875 he left the ship “Timaru” in Port Chalmers, and striking up country, eventually found his way to Invercargill, where he worked for some time, also being employed at the Mataura Paper Mill, cutting the first water race. In 1876 he went Home from the Bluff in the ship “Waimea,” and came back in the same ship to Wellington. He proceeded up country and was engaged in all sorts of work, among others that of waggon-driving over the Rimutaka before the line was opened to the Wairarapa. In 1884 he took a trip Home in the ship “Lady Jocelyn,” when she took the first cargo of frozen meat from the North Island of New Zealand to England. Returning at the latter end of the same year he entered the service of the Wellington Harbour Board, in which he remained for some years. On the formation of the Labour Department in 1891 Mr. Mackay was appointed to assist Mr. Tregear in organizing the work. During the illness of his chief he had charge of the department, and succeeded in assisting in its rapid development. The State farm at Levin is largely under Mr. Mackay's control. His large and varied experience of colonial life has peculiarly fitted him for the position he now occupies. As a member of the Masonic fraternity, he belongs to the New Zealand Pacific Lodge, N.Z.C., holding at present the office of Junior Warden. Mr. Mackay is a prominent member of the Druids' Order, and holds the office of District Grand President, in the District Grand Lodge, which has just been formed, Mr. Mackay being one of the principal movers in the movement which led to the separation from Victoria, thereby gaining control over the local funds and also having the management of their own affairs. He is also a member of Court Robin Hood, A.O.F. He takes a great interest in anything pertaining to Friendly Societies. In 1885 Mr. Mackay was married in Greytown to Miss Georgina Davidson, who came to Tasmania from Edinburgh with Bishop Sandford. His family consists of three daughters and one son.
Record Clerk—V. L. Willeston. Cadet— F. W. T. Rowley.
Mr. J. Mackay, Inspector of Factories. See above.
Mr. James Shanaghan, Inspector of Factories for the North and Middle Islands of the Colony of New Zealand, is a son of the late J. P. Shanaghan, who came to the Colony in the early forties as Drum Major in the 58th Regiment, and served in Hone Heke's war at the Bay of Islands, and afterwards throughout the Waikato campaign. Born in the Northern City in 1847, Mr. James Shanaghan went with his parents to Australia when but five years old, and there he was educated, returning to New Zealand in 1864 to settle in the Waikato. On the Thames being declared a goldfield, he was on the field within four days of its opening, and took part in the labour of the pioneer prospectors. In 1868 Mr. Shanaghan joined the A. C. force, under Major Von Tempsky, and was beside that gallant officer when he fell in battle, being the last to see him alive. During the engagement the subject of this notice was shot in both hands, and received a slight scalp wound, which together rendered him unfit for further service. Returning to the Thames in 1869, he entered the Provincial Government Service in the Survey Department, where he remained till 1874. In this year Mr. Shanaghan accepted an appointment under the Public Works Department at the Thames, and was soon entrusted with the management of the water-race, of which he had charge for over six years. In February, 1883, he was appointed Inspector of Works by the Auckland City Council, which position he retained for about nine years, when he took up his duties as Inspector of Factories. Mr. Shanaghsn was married in 1876 to Miss Twamley, daughter of Mr. George Twamley, of Onehunga, and has six daughters and two sons.
Christchurch, J. Lomas; Auckland, H. Ferguson; Dunedin, H. Maxwell; and 137 local Inspectors.
Miss Margaret Scott, Officer in Charge of the Women's Branch of the Labour Department, is a daughter of Mr. Henry Scott, settler, of Pahiatua, and was born in January, 1869, in the North of Ireland. Arriving in Lyttelton per ship “Halcione,” in 1881, her education was gained chiefly in the Colony. On leaving school, Miss Scott went to learn the work of a tailoress in Christchurch, and for some years followed this calling. For many years she has been connected with various trade organisations, and soon became a prominent member. Miss Scott assisted in developing the Christchurch Tailoresses' Union, and for a number of years she filled the important office of secretary of the society. She was largely instrumental in organizing several societies in connection with women's work, and ultimately as representative of the Tailoresses' Union, became vice-president of the Canterbury Trades Council. Miss Scott was appointed to the position she now holds on the 1st of April, 1895. The Labour Department has already done a great deal to improve the lot of the workers in New Zealand, and there can be no doubt that the appointment of a lady to give special attention to the needs of the women workers is a move in the right direction.